ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — U.S. inflation has reached a new 40-year high, putting even more pressure on households trying to afford the cost of essentials.
People are scrimping on a lot to make ends meet, and now more Coloradans are turning to pawn shops to get extra cash.
At Pawn King in Englewood, doors open at 9:30 a.m. every weekday, and typically customers are already waiting to get inside.
"In the morning, usually we have a line outside our door," said Angelo Arguello, the owner of Pawn King.
Arguello says his business has always been one with ups and downs with the economy. Before COVID, Arguello says he was getting by fine.
It was during the pandemic he saw an unusual boost.
"They were coming in, but they were coming in for the stuff to do at home. Bikes, I couldn't hold a bike for anything. Laptops or cell phones, gaming systems, things like that. Stuff to do at home," said Arguello.
However, in February of this year, Arguello noticed another change in why his customers were now coming in.
"It's a lot more about getting gas for the week, type of loans as needed. A quick 30 bucks, 40 bucks to fill my tank," said Arguello. "People just need money to do their daily commute. You know, pay small bills, get gas, put groceries on the table for the few days before they get their paycheck."
Now Arguello says he sees customers bring in items they no longer see as necessities.
"Now they're given up those bikes and laptops and gaming systems and the fun things," said Arguello. "Things you can kind of live without, for about a week, two weeks."
Some weeks Arguello says he gives out thousands of dollars in loans, and others it's much less, but Arguello says it's not about the money for him. It's about helping his community.
"I base a lot of my business on community, you know what I mean? And if I can help everybody out, I try to," he said.
Helping customers get the money for a tank of gas or carton of eggs.